Now, You Can Track The ‘Cicadapocalypse’

Pictured: Periodical cicadas. Photo by Michael Ventura/Alamy

This spring offers an amazing opportunity to experience the rare emergence of periodical cicadas in Wisconsin. With their extended 17-year life cycles, Wisconsinites only have a handful of opportunities in their lives to observe this phenomenon. After 2024, your next chance won’t be until 2041.

In anticipation of the Brood XIII periodical cicada emergence this spring, UW has introduced a new tool. It’s a website that covers the biology, ecology, and distribution of these insects. It includes photos, historical videos, and other useful resources.

This website will give you a glimpse into the biology and ecology of these insects. It also describes what the experience will be like, and when and where to go looking for periodical cicadas:

UW-Madison Entomologist PJ Liesch sifted through 150 years of books, newspaper articles, university and government records, and specimens in the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection to develop an updated map of Wisconsin periodical cicada reports.

While the map is an improvement over older ones, additional data would help. To that end, he has created a citizen science project on the site and is encouraging the public to report sightings and submit photos from Wisconsin when the highly awaited emergence of 17-year cicadas begins next month.

Brood XIII is the only brood of periodical cicadas in Wisconsin and their emergence has been documented in 11 southern counties since the earliest observations were recorded in the state in 1837.

See a previous Mid-West Farm Report story on the cicadas from an apple grower’s perspective: